74 Better Things To Do
Li Xueyue stomped out and stared at him with contempt. \"If you could dress yourself the entire time, why burden me?\"
\"Why not?\" he slowly grinned, finding her highly amusing.
\"Don't you have better things to do, Commander?\" she spat out the last part, crossing her arms in front of her.
\"Things to do?\" Commander Yu Zhen glanced at her and suggestively wiggled his brows. He watched in amusement as confusion clouded her features before realization settled in.
\"Handsome?\" he teased whilst taking a step towards her. She took two steps back, her eyes wandering around the room for an escape plan.
\"You're shameless and lack proper etiquette.\"
\"Aw, Princess, I'm offended,\" he teased and placed a chaste hand on his chest with a wounded expression.
He continued crossing her boundary lines, until she found herself sandwiched between him and a horribly placed desk. The bottom of her back touched it just as his arms caged her into place.
She sucked in a breath while glowering at him.
Li Xueyue told herself to look away from him, that this was exactly the reaction he wanted from her. She could smell him, a refreshing blend of pinecones and subtle hints of spice with a tinge of sweetness.
His scent shrouded her, warm and beckoning while his voice dropped a seductive octave.
\"Why don't you teach me the proper etiquette?\" he gently murmured, his rough fingers gently brushed the loose strands of hair away from her face.
Her shoulders went rigid when he bent low.
Sultry, husky, and beckoning, he uttered, \"While I teach you the proper etiquette in bed.\"
She swallowed when his lips brushed against her ear. His fingers teasingly grazed her face, his touches feather-soft. Everywhere that he touched tingled with heat until her face was a bit warm.
Commander Yu Zhen thought he had successfully captured her attention when she leaned towards him, almost as if she was entranced like he had hoped so. His lips curled into a knowing smile. She was puddy in his hands—f*ck!
He choked, bending over, heaving for air. She had just kneed him in a place that should never be kicked. His fingers tightly clenched the desk beside her while he struggled to maintain his confident posture.
\"Oops,\" she shrugged, lightly laughing when she easily dodged his grabbing hands.
Painstakingly, he turned his head quick enough to see her walking backward.
Playfully, she tucked her hands behind her and winked. \"I hope to never see you again, Commander.\"
She innocently batted her eyes at him before skipping out of the room, pleasantly humming to herself.
Commander Yu Zhen let out a bark of laughter, running a hand through his hair, tightening his fingers.
He had been played by a woman as harmless as a fly. It's a shame that she'll see him again, sooner than she would have hoped for. Afterall, she was the only reason why he came to Wuyi.
- - - - -
Li Xueyue wished she knew where she was going. She had confidently stormed out of that man's room, but was lost, yet again. She refused to admit that.
Li Xueyue had turned enough hallways and corners to understand it would be difficult to retrace her steps.
Finally, Li Xueyue stopped walking and observed her surroundings. This place was different from the rest of the palace, almost eerily silent and desolate except for the occasional plops in the pond.
\"My lady, shall we ask a guard for directions?\" one of her maidservants hesitantly asked. Her eyes nervously darted the empty and dark hallways. She found it daunting that there was practically no one in this hallway, except for them.
There were as little guards present as there were people.
\"Do you remember the way back?\" Li Xueyue sighed, turning around to face her servant.
The maidservant instantly bowed her head and wrung her fingers together. \"I'm sorry, my lady… U-unfortunately this servant does not know…\"
Li Xueyue nodded her head while searching the vicinity. It was peculiar that there was a place in the palace that was not heavily guarded. It was as if this wing was unimportant.
She curiously wandered to a door and tried to open it, but it was locked. Perhaps this was a storage place? It didn't make sense. Storage places should be highly guarded.
\"Well, I suppose…\" her voice trailed off when she saw a shadow in the distance.
Someone was here.
Eagerly, Li Xueyue picked up her skirts so that she wouldn't trip and began racing in the direction of the shadow.
She roughly collided with a firm chest, earning a loud, \"Ow!\" from her.
Rigid hands tightly gripped her upper arms, steadying her before she fell.
When Li Xueyue raised her head, she was met with the menacing frown of Wen Jinkai.
\"What are you doing here?\" he harshly asked, stepping forward while she took steps back.
'What was he doing here as well?' Li Xueyue asked herself. Uncertainty crossed her chest when the words of the Emperor echoed back to her. 'Choose a candidate for Commander Wen Jinkai.'
Her gaze dropped to his hands, large and calloused, holding her tightly. Abruptly, she yanked her arms back, his eyes widened by her rough actions. He didn't release her until he was certain she would not fall. When she was balanced on her feet, he reluctantly let go.
\"You got lost? In the Second Prince's Palace?\" Wen Jinkai asked her, doubt weighing heavily on his tone.
Li Xueyue narrowed her gaze. He was accusing her of lying. \"Yes. Why else would I be here? I didn't even know it was the Second Prince's Palace. What are YOU doing here in the first place?\"
Wen Jinkai silently stared at her. \"Where are you supposed to be?\"
He ignored her question. So she was right. He was in the palace to meet the candidates. Even so, she was confused that Wen Jinkai knew this was the Second Prince's palace. Were they friends?
\"Why do you care?\" Li Xueyue stubbornly crossed her arms, wincing a bit when she heard how bratty her words sounded.
\"I've said it before,\" Wen Jinkai quietly murmured, \"I'll always care about you.\" He reached out to touch her face but she flicked his hand away.
\"You don't get that right.\"
\"What right? The ability to touch you?\" he teased, his lips lightly quirked.
Li Xueyue struggled to identify her words. She averted her eyes to anywhere but his stormy ones. He was as handsome as he was fierce. Her heart weighed heavily on her chest. She told herself that she should not affiliate herself with Commander Wen anymore. He wanted a harem. She didn't.
\"I'm leaving,\" she huffed and frowned, turning her back to him and walked steps ahead, almost as if she was waiting for him to react and chase after her.
'I'm such a fool,' she thought to herself when he remained rooted in his spot.
She hated herself for instantly freezing as if roots had sprouted from the ground to hold her in place.
\"Take my guard with you. Tell him where you want to go and he'll guide you there.\"
Li Xueyue turned her head in time to see a man clothed in black drop down from the ceiling. She expected him to land heavily, but he barely made a sound when his foot touched the floor. He pressed a hand to his chest and respectfully bowed.
\"Thank you,\" Li Xueyue curtly said in the most detached way possible.
Wen Jinkai's eyes narrowed, his fingers curling into fists. She told herself that she did not care about his anger. Why should she? It's not like he liked her or anything. Holding her chin high, she sauntered off with his guard following closely behind her.
\"Where would you like to head to, Princess?\" the guard politely asked her.
Li Xueyue pondered for a second before deciding, \"Take me to the Throne Room.\" She had business to discuss with the Emperor.